Rachel Burch Tops Equitation Championship

by Mark Davis

   Rain and cool breezes, both connected with the outer bands of Hurricane Katrina, greeted exhibitors and fans as they gathered for the final morning performance of the 67th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  The session featured 13 classes highlighting the Trail Pleasure, Lite Shod, Park Pleasure, Weanling and Equitation divisions including the Equitation, Youth Medal Championship.
   Calsonic Arena was in the western way once again as 12 of the 18 expected for class 92, Western Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod, made their way to the arena.  Judge Mike Sims called the gaits in the division.  Walking the happy trail to the winner's circle was reigning Western Lite Shod WGC Calvin Klein's Mystery and trainer Bart Gilmer riding for Sims and Jackie McKnight of Mason, Tenn.  Mystery already claimed one World title on Friday morning with Jackie McKnight aboard. Drop The Hammer and owner/exhibitor Rhonda Martocci of Franklin, Tenn. slammed the competition again to pick up the reserve honors.  Ms. Streetwalker and Laurie Toone were third for Ralph & Elaine Pinner of Senatobia, Miss.
   Up next was class 93, Owner-Amateur Riders on Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Three-Years-Old.  Eleven of the 23 with reservations made the gate call to work for Celebration acclaim as Judge Sam Sorrell and his cohorts oversaw the action.  Picking up their second title of the week, Kody's High Roller and Joe Dixon made the victory pass for Randall and Gloria Dixon of Dacula, Ga.  Jazzing Papa and owner/exhibitor Bob Medina of Skillman, N.J.  made the stellar performance to garner the reserve award.  Slammin' Rammer and Dave Buck accepted third for Joy & Dave Buck of Conroe, Texas.
   As class 94, Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Four-Years-Old Lite Shod, made their way to the ring, the spectators probably noticed their numbers were growing as they were joined by students from Lewisburg, Tenn.'s Marshall County Elementary School.  Eight of the 11 programmed entries hit the track in the division to work for Judge Rollie Beard and his staff.  Picking up the second blue of the morning for the Southern Serenity Ranch of Cedar Grove, Tenn., C'mon Turn Me Loose and trainer Howard Hamilton scored the victory with a unanimous decision of the panel for Randall and Gloria Dixon of Dacula, Ga. C'mon Turn Me Loose and Joe Dixon topped the Owner Amateur Riders on Lite Shod Horses, Four-Years and Under earlier in the week. Color This and Joey Tackett accepted the color red for John & Julie Dettwiller of McDermott, Ohio.  Jim Laughlin and JFK's Royal Dream tied third for 4-J Land and Cattle Co. of Waynesville, Mo.
   The Equitation division was up next on the morning's schedule in class 95E, Equitation, Riders 18 Years and Over (Canter).  Seven of the nine on the card headed in under the watchful eye of Judge Stephen Brown in the division judged on the skills of the rider, not the horse.  Four of the seven entries were asked to perform a pattern to exhibit their skills.  Those were Sara Womack of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Leslie Perry of Salt Lick, Ky., Alice Eve Klein of Lewisburg, Tenn. and Susan Shemwell of Franklin, Tenn.  Riding her way to the top of the division for the second consecutive year was Sara Womack of Murfreesboro, Tenn.   She preceded this honor with wins at the National Trainers' Show, Columbia, Tenn.'s Money Tree Classic, Woodbury, Tenn.'s Lions Club Horse Show and Murfreesboro, Tenn.'s International Grand Championships. Alice Eve Klein of Lewisburg, Tenn. garnered the reserve honors and Susan Shemwell of Franklin, Tenn. was third.
   The Park Pleasure division was in the spotlight next as class 96 brought Owner-Amateur Novice Youth Riders 6-17 Years on Novice Park Pleasure Walking Mares or Geldings to the arena with 11 of the 16 scheduled making the gate call to work for their very first Celebration blue as Judge Mack Motes and his cohorts officiated the action.  Heading out of the Novice division, with a unanimous decision of the panel, was Rodney Dangerfield and Landon Head up for Bert, Sheryl and Landon Head of Jigger, La.  The team dominated competition from Texas to Tennessee during the 2005 season capturing wins at Marshall, Texas, Monroe, La.'s Louisiana Jubilee, Jonesville, La.'s Charity Horse Show, Jackson, Miss.'s Mississippi State Charity Horse Show, Winnsboro, La.'s Charity Horse Show, Pikeville, Tenn., Shelbyville, Tenn,'s Great Strides Horse Show and Farmerville, La.'s Union Parish Horse Show.  Quite a year and quite a way to finish it off, bringing home the blue from The Celebration.  Making a GRAND show, Grand Safari and owner/exhibitor Rusty Carlton of Newport, Tenn. claimed the reserve title.  Scream Walking and Jerri Anne Williams picked up the third award for Ginger Williams of Eden, N.C.
   Class 97 featured the Lite Shod division bringing the Owner-Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod to the track with 18 of the 26 expected beating the clock to work for Judge Mike Sims and staff.  The day really did prove to be a "major success" for the team of Gen's Major Success and Natalie Dale, novice's no longer, riding to the win for Burl Dale of Linville, N.C.  Nita's Double Pride and Ginger Simpson preserved their novice status for a little longer with the good reserve ride for Ginger Simpson/Mt. View Farms of Belvidere, Tenn.  Sundrop Straight Up and Jen Clement were third for McCann & Mc Avoy of Stuartstown, Pa.
   The babies of the breed were up next in class 98, Weanling Colts, of 2005 foal.  Twenty-four of the 38 with reservations pulled away from their mama's long enough to show their stuff for Judge Sam Sorrell and the panel.  Topping the division with an outstanding performance was the reigning Pulaski, Tenn. and Wartrace, Tenn champion, The Syndicate and Robert Nelms at the lead for  Steve Heitmiller of Laguna Beach, Calif.  This duo also capture the reserve title at Wednesday evening's TWHBEA National Futurity.  I'm All Lined Up and Chris Richards moved to the reserve position for Sam Kite of Telford, Tenn.  Lynn Womack and Nine Lives accepted third for Womack Stables of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
   Class 99A brought the Trail Pleasure division back to the track with 19 of the 30 with reservations in Owner-Amateur Novice English Trail Pleasure, Novice Riders.  Judge Rollie Beard called the gaits in the division. After making outstanding performances all week, Shimmer and Stacey Avery got their turn to shine in the winner's circle for Jan & Carlos Treat of Springdale, Ark.  Heading back to the Lone Star state, Olympic Gold Sunrise and Steve Raley picked up the red streamer for Deborah Williams, Steve Raley and Brandon Urad of Argyle , Texas.  Dollar's Dream Weaver and Mike Nichols garnered the yellow streamer for James Nichols of Oxford, Miss.
   Owner-Amateur Novice English Trail Pleasure, Novice Riders, class 99B, brought 20 more contenders to the track to work as Judge Stephen Brown led the panel.  Another Arkansas team topped this division, I'm Benny Too and Tim Brooks making the victory pass for Tim and Terri Brooks of Hot Springs, Ark.  A Drop Of Gold and owner/exhibitor Fran Cole of Grass Valley, Calif. captured the reserve honors.  I'm Just Jessie and Ruth Tudor were third for Larry & Ruth Tudor of Ten Mile, Tenn.
   Class 100 featured the Park Pleasure division with six of the 21 expected made the call to work in Park Pleasure Walking Horses, Riders 18 and Over (Canter) under the eye of Judge Mack Motes and the panel.  Charming the panel, Kody's Charmer and Bruce Hankins topped the division with a unanimous decision of the team for Jimmy and Beth Taylor of Nettleton, Miss.    The Classic horse, Gen's Sundancer and Jeff Givens took home the red ribbon for Ken & Charlene Petty and The Jeff Givens Family of Woodbury and Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Sunfires Phoenix and Jeff Hatcher tied third for Mike & Harriet Van Dyke of Providence Forge, Va.
   Five of the 9 expected made their way to Calsonic Arena for class 101, Owner-Amateur Riders on Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses, Lite Shod (Canter).  Judge Mike Sims served as call judge for the event.  Topping the division, with a unanimous decision once again, was the team of Pusher's Beaming Pride and Jim Nichols riding for Jim and Debbie Nichols of New Market, Tenn., marking the third win of the day for the team from Cedar Grove, Tenn.'s Southern Serenity Ranch.  Taking the reserve back to Santa Rosa, Calif., Joseph Manos and Steel Watch made another strong ride for The Joseph Manos Family.  Showshine and Bill Harlin were third for Barbara Harlin of Nashville, Tenn.
   Eleven entries made the call for the second Championship of the 67th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the Auxiliary Equitation, Youth Medal Championship.  Judge Sam Sorrell led the team in the division.  Three entries, Paige Bennett of Alvaton, Ky., Rachel Burch of College Grove, Tenn. and Ashley Beard of Bell Buckle, Tenn., were asked to demonstrate pattern work to determine the winner in the division.  When the work was complete, it was Rachel Burch of College Grove, Tenn. capturing the roses.  Ms. Burch topped the Auxiliary Equitation Riders 12-14 on Saturday morning.  Ashley Beard of Bell Buckle, Tenn. accepted the reserve honors with Paige Bennett of Alvaton, Ky. riding to third.
   Marking the last class of the Monday morning session, class 103, Weanling Fillies, of 2005 foal.  Fifteen of the 25 with reservations made the track to work for Judge Rollie Beard and his staff.  Taking the win in the division was the TWHBEA National Futurity Champion, Stormy's Silky Sue and Robert Nelms showing for JT & Martha Nelms of College Grove, Tenn.  Leading to reserve was Fame's Lady Lee and Chris Richards for James and Nancy Washburn of Fayetteville, Tenn.  Bobby Richards and Love Patrol tied third for Rhonda Martocci of Franklin, Tenn.
   With that, the morning sessions of the 67th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration are in the record books.  By Wednesday, the floor of Calsonic Arena will be transformed from a show track to a shopping mall, showing wares of dozens of vendors.  Join us in the main arena for the Tuesday evening performance, featuring 13 classes highlighted by the Owner Amateur Riders on Three Year Old Walking Stallions and Owner Amateur Riders on Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings.